You’ve heard all those sayings. He’s not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. She’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer. He’s not the best tool in the shed.

Well, it seems that I am all of those rolled up into one…and then some. Another few self-descriptors that fit (what’s that saying? If the shoe fits…) me almost perfectly include: a few clowns short of a circus, I am depriving some village of its idiot, and that I couldn’t pour water out of boot with instructions printed on the heel.

Maybe I should have joined the circus.

One summer I was completing some chore on the farm that my father had instructed I do before I could do anything else. This wasn’t in my genes. I was born in southern California, lived in Chicago, Iceland, and Germany. My father wanted to return to his roots and farm the land. Anyway, farm work is hot and sweaty. So, I decided to stop by the freezer in the garage. I opened the door and stuck my tongue to the ice-frosted shelf. Guess what happened?

WARNING: Do not stick wet tongue against metal in temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

It got stuck! My sisters suggested using my father’s lighter to melt the ice. Sad thing is I actually contemplated that for a while. It came down to warm water and ripping the thing off.

A couple years later some friends and I were down in a secluded field next to a creekbed. I had a Toyota Celica with a moonroof in it. One of my friends had a moonroof in his car. What great idea did we come up with? A jousting tournament. Of course, we told ourselves we weren’t going very fast, and it would be safe. But how safe can two cars going at each other while someone is balanced on the roof holding a broom be?

Of course, we didn’t look this cool.

Speaking of Chicago, when I was up in Great Lakes for Navy Hospital Corpsman A school training, my classmates and I would go down to the city every weekend we could. On one of those weekends, I decided to go to the dance club Medusa’s on Sheffield.

I loved this place. It was the beginning of my love for industrial and techno music. Dancing until late in the morning and listening to wonderful, strange new music. One trip, I was up on the third floor and decided to go out onto the fire escape and visit with some people I had never met before. A couple of us started hanging from the rail with our feet dangling in open air three stories above the alley.

Medusa’s. Years before they had the fire escape on the side of the building.

And you don’t outgrow it. I wish you did, but you just don’t. Recently, I was straightening my beard with a flat iron. At one point, I looked down because the water was running into the sink at full blast. What do you think I saw? Yep. The cord hanging down into the basin.

I believe in guardian angels. I have to because of how stupid I am and the choices I have made in life. Let’s give it up for Team JC’s Angels! This team rocks.

WHAT I’M UP TO

WRITING: I DID IT!!! I completed the challenge of writing 50,000 words in one month when I participated in the National Novel Writing Month event. Bishop is still coming along nicely. Yesterday, I took a break from it and wrote a 1,500-word short story titled The Plant Withers and the Flowers Fade Away. And I have selected the 24 poems I will submit to the WatersEdge (not a typo) chapbook contest…deadline is in one week.

FICTION: I have read half of The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi. What will happen if changes in climate cycles lead to a devastating drought in the western half of the US? Another civil war? Will states build walls to keep out refugees from neighboring states? Will the federal government become in ineffectual entity whose only importance is name? Will the true powers be massive conglomerates that control life-giving water? What would you do to survive in a landscape like that? Bacigalupi handles these questions in an intriguing and exciting manner.

Excellent book!

NONFICTION: Been reading more about Vikings and the Inuit and Tuniit cultures. Kind of important to get the details correct if I am writing about them.

TELEVISION: The second season of Jack Ryan was released on Amazon Prime. I watched all eight episodes in five days. The wealth of natural resources in Venezuela make it an important place in the world. However, corrupt governments and corporations make it a very volatile situation should chaos ensue. Related to some of today’s current events, the series covers these aspects. Well-written and incredibly filmed.

The first season was great. The second season was great.

MOVIES: If you want to see a great movie about a good cop in a sea of bad influence and questionable practices, go see 21 Bridges. Rotten Tomatoes’ critics only gave it a 50%, but the audience score is a rip-roaring 91%. Too bad too many people listen to the critics. This movie is action-packed, thoughtful, and actually tries to make you think about important, and even dangerous, concepts. Chadwick Boseman plays a police officer whose own father was an incorruptible man of the law who fell victim to criminals attacking his family. Wearing a badge was in his son’s DNA.

Great movie. Not your typical procedural.